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Startup Story: A business by any other name would not be as sweet
Startup stories is a blog series I started to document journey with nichemarket and share it with fellow startup founders and future founders. I will share with you some of the lessons I've learned, some of the mistakes I've made, some of the panic attacks I had and the little victories that have brought nichemarket this far.
Starting your entrepreneurial journey comes with many steps and milestones and each business has its path and like a snowflake or M Night Shyamalan movies, each one is special and unique in their own way, some good and some bad. One unavoidable step we all have to take in the beginning is the dreaded naming of the business. To some it came easy, others had to think long and hard, but we all had to go through it.
Thinking of a name that will embody the brand, the mission, the goals, future aspirations and the customer promise is no small undertaking. Your business's name will be the first element consumers will come into contact with and trust me EVERYONE has some opinion or strategy on how to name a company.
It's a brand name
At the risk of sounding snobbish, I've never been a fan of calling your business Mr. + Product/Service or Product/Service world. It just seems unimaginative and like you simply registered the first name that came to mind. I'm no expert when it comes to branding, so this was all new territory for me, and I think I took it too seriously and had this idea of the perfect name was out there.
Seeing that both co-founders were marketers we would naturally tend to overthink everything, to us, the name was a vital component of the early days of conceptualising nichemarket. We reviewed EVERYTHING and debated every single element as if we were already some established and listed company with significant brand recognition.
I wouldn't say I'm a brand advocate of any kind, but I do recognise and value its power of building something as recognisable as Apple, Nike, Coca Cola and BMW.
Our first attempts
So we had a concept in mind, we looked at what this business idea, where it could go, what we wanted it to do and stand for and then started spitballing ideas. Shamima and I came up with a few terrible first attempts.
- Retail Radar
- Business Finder
- Retail Market
- Buyers Market
- Business Builder
- Business Market
As you can see from some of our first attempts we were focusing too much on trying to explain the service we wanted to provide and thus narrowed the business focus. These names didn't pop, it didn't excite us, and it had no legs. By legs I mean its not a brand name we could leverage into other services we would like to launch further down the line. Placing ourselves in a bit of
Lessons from our first attempt
We placed too much emphasis on the name to sell the idea and the solution to possible users instead of focusing on the crucial aspect which was building the product and taking it to market. When you spend too much time conceptualising things you often start to nitpick and second guess yourself. You tend t test theories in your mind and not in the market, and this is a dangerous space to be in.
We kept on Googling synonyms and reviewing buzzwords when we came across the word niche market. Out of all the names we came up with this one resonated with us the most, we thought, cool we are building a tool for marketing and want to help businesses from various niches get exposure, this makes sense.
So let's see if it was taken, we checked the register of companies and domains and surprise surprise it was available. I reserved the name for registration while Shamima purchased the domain and we were off to the races.
If you like it, file a registration on it
Once I received confirmation that the name was reserved I was so stoked, achievement unlocked. Next, the domain was ours, and so came the final stage which was registering the company. I submitted the paperwork, and a few days later I got the bad news, the name was taken.
I took the news pretty hard; I laid in bed that night a broken man, how could this be? Just my luck, back to the drawing board. Oh well, turns out the person who reserved the name was me and when I filed the paperwork to register I filed another name reservation along with it that got rejected.
So in the end, it was always ours!
Some names just do not resonate
Once we had the name and as we started creating branding material for it and asked for the feedback it wasn't very positive. People said it didn't make sense, that it was confusing, that they did not know how to pronounce it or what it means. We were told the name was too generic a term, that it wasn't catchy enough.
The feedback was harsh, but you know what we thought? Oh well we like the name, we registered it, might as well go with it!
Names don't give meaning; you give it meaning
What I realised going through this whole ordeal is that names aren't that important, the important thing is to get started and provide an excellent service. In the initial stages, you and your brand will are tethered as you are the living embodiment and only asset the company has. So don't feel too bad naming it after yourself or coming up with some obscure phrase it doesn't matter.
Your faith, enthusiasm and passion for what you do will be what resonates with people, and they will eventually associate your traits with your brand regardless of the name.
While I'm sure this probably wasn't the answer you were looking for, you thought there was some magic formula or something similar there isn't, at least for us there wasn't. So my final piece of advice is to go out there pick a name, have fun and grow your business.
Share your story
Now that you know our struggle of picking a name, share with us how you decided to name your business. What was your process? What were your alternatives and why did you settle on the name you registered? Share your story in the comments below; we look forward to hearing all about it.
Previous startup stories
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